Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Document Box with Illustrated Books

Meiji period (1868–1912)
19th century
Lacquered wood with gold and silver hiramaki-e, togidashimaki-e on nashiji ground
H. 6 in. (15.2 cm); W. 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm); D. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
14.40.837a, b
Not on view
This large box for calligraphy paper (ryōshi-bako) forms a set with the writing box of the same design. Writing boxes and document boxes were often prepared in pairs; sometimes a writing table completed the set. The open book on the front of the lid reveals a scene from “The Gatehouse,” chapter 16 of The Tale of Genji, with a procession of court carriages and elegant courtiers on their way to Ishiyama. On the right side of the box is a scene from Ise Stories, while the inside is decorated with bamboo and chrysanthemums, representing endurance and longevity, respectively.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Textiles," 1991.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," November 5, 1991–December 15, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blossoms of Many Colors: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Japanese Art," March 21, 2000–August 9, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Storytelling in Japanese Art," November 19, 2011–May 6, 2012.

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